Ohio State Basketball: The Buckeyes' Mount Rushmore of Coaches

Ohio State Basketball: The Buckeyes' Mount Rushmore of Coaches

Basketball

Ohio State Basketball: The Buckeyes' Mount Rushmore of Coaches


We’ve reached the end of our Mount Rushmore series on the best of the best at each position group in Ohio State basketball history. We’ve finished all the players, and now it’s time to talk about the best four coaches in program history.


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Ohio State Basketball Mount Rushmore Of:
Point Guards | Shooting Guards | Forwards | Centers

Ohio State Basketball: The Buckeyes’ Mount Rushmore of Coaches

As illustrious as the history of Ohio State basketball is, there really haven’t been that many coaches that have had more than average success. It’s been a program built on mediocre performances, with some dominant runs in-between.

With that in mind, here are the guys mostly responsible for making the Buckeye program one that has won 61.9% of its games, all while pulling in the bulk of Big Ten championships and NCAA tournament appearances in the program’s history.

Fred Taylor (1959-1976)

Taylor guided the Buckeye machine during the golden era of the program. He coached the likes of Jerry Lucas and John Havlicek in the early sixties, and is responsible for leading Ohio State to its only national championship in 1960.

He held an overall record of 297-158 (.653), and a Big Ten record of 158-102 (.608), all while amassing seven conference titles and five NCAA tournament appearances. His 1960-62 team made it to the championship game of the NCAA’s three-straight years. UCLA is the only other program to accomplish that feat.

Thad Matta (2005-2017)

Say what you will about the tale end of Matta’s career — he’s still the winningest coach in Ohio State history. Known for his recruiting and ability to find the right combination of players, the Hoopeston, Illinois native had a Big Ten record of 150-78 (.658), and an overall mark of 337-123 (.733).

He convinced several five-star players come to the program, hauled in five outright conference titles, four Big Ten tournament championships, and appeared in the NCAA tournament nine times, making the Final Four twice — one of those culminating in a loss to the Florida Gators in the 2007 national title game. From 2006 to 2013, the program appeared in the Big Ten title game seven out of eight times.

Harold Olsen (1923-1946)

Olsen is not well known by the casual Ohio State fan, but he set the table for the program to be a national player. Before him, the Buckeye program struggled at best. He was also one of the main architect’s of the NCAA tournament.

Feel free to use that during trivia night …

He got things turned around with five conference titles and five NCAA tournament appearances, including the first ever that was held in 1939, nearly taking the Scarlet and Gray to the national title. His overall record stands at 255-192 (.570), with a Big Ten mark of 150-129 (.538).

Jim O’Brien (1997-2001)

Maybe the most controversial coach in Ohio State history, O’Brien is probably most well-known for his role in the sanctions heaped upon the Ohio State program during his tenure that has resulted in 113 games vacated.

Still O’Brien was known for getting the best out of his players in his short time in Columbus, and was able to guide the team to the 1999 Final Four, won two regular-season Big Ten titles and one Big Ten tournament championship. His teams appeared in four-straight NCAA tournaments, a program first at the time.

 

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